Fighting genetic risk for heart disease can be helped with physical activity. Stanford researchers have discovered the association between high fitness levels and having low heart disease in an observational study for approximately one half million participants which included those who have a genetic risk.
According to the study done by researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine, keeping fit still works in keeping your heart healthy. Even if you have been born with a genetically high risk of heart disease.
Researchers had examined data in the UK Biobank database which was collected from almost one half million people in what was one of the biggest observational studies for fitness and heart disease. People who had higher levels of grip strength, cardiorespiratory fitness and physical activity were found to have a reduced risk of heart attacks or stroke; even with genetic predispositions for heart disease.
People with high genetic risk for heart disease should not give up on exercise as stated by Erik Ingelsson, MD, PhD, and professor of cardiovascular medicine. This is the same even if you are at low risk for heart disease; you should still exercise to reduce risk. It’s what we’ve known all along, it’s a mixture of both the genes as well as the environment which will influence your health.
Determining fitness and activity levels of those participating; data previously collected from 482,702 participants was used by researchers. The participants each underwent grip-strength tests that correlates with your overall body strength. They wore accelerometers for 7 days, answered questions regarding levels of their physical activity, and had stationary cycling tests. Additionally; genetic data from 468,095 of those participating was used in this study.
Across the board researchers found that the higher your levels of fitness and physical activity are; is associated with the lower levels of several negative cardiovascular outcomes which include stroke, atrial fibrillation and coronary artery disease.
For those who are considered genetically at higher risk for heart disease, then higher levels in cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with 49% decreased risk for coronary heart disease and a 60% decreased risk for atrial fibrillation when compared to the low cardiorespiratory fitness participants.
For those who are considered genetically at intermediate risk for heart disease, then higher levels in cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with 36% decreased risk for coronary heart disease and a 46% decreased risk for atrial fibrillation when compared to the low cardiorespiratory fitness participants.